What it is?
According to Mayo Clinic, Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord.
Some symptoms of Meningitis are:
1- Severe headache with nausea or vomiting
2- Stiff Neck
4-Confusion or difficulty concentrating
6-Sleepiness or difficulty waking
7-Sensitivity to light
8-No appetite or thirst
I remember, when I was 10-year-old, I had Meningitis. It all started when I was playing outside in my backyard. I was hanging on a pole of clothe line. I was upside down on it; suddenly, I fell to the floor. It happened so fast.
That very night I had a severe headache. My mother did the usual homemade remedy that used to work. This time, however, it did not work, and I continued to have this terrible pain.
I slept with my parents, because that pain was so unbearable. I was even sleepwalking; something I never did before that fall. When I woke up, I found myself next to the window, talking. My mother asked who is there. I don’t know if I was dreaming or hallucinating. The thing is that, I was talking to my brother-in-law. When I opened my eyes, no one was actually there. This was in between sleep, dream and waking up… weird.
The following day, I still had the severe headache. My mother had decided to take me to the doctor. The headache was abnormal. Also, something very strange was happening: each time I would close my eyes for a little moment, I started dreaming.
When my mother was combing my hair, I remember closing my eyes and starting to dream that I was walking on the sidewalk, with my friend, and I spot on the sidewalk.
Suddenly, I opened my eyes and noticed I had, actually, spot on the bed. That was strange. I don’t know why, exactly, but the meningitis was making me act weirdly!
So my mother took me to the doctor. I remember he put me to sit on a table. He was in front of me. He tried to bend me forward a little, but he said I had to be interned. I guess he noticed that I was rigid.
My mother was a nurse and had to work that afternoon, so she interned me and went home to change into her uniform.
At first, I was in a room with others. Then, after 2 days, more or less, I was changed to ICU. I remember when my sisters and brothers came to visit me; they couldn’t come close to me. They had to stay at the room door. It even had like a gate to remind people to stay out.
Next, the doctor had to perform a “lumbar puncture”; or a “spinal tap”. This is a process where the Dr draws some fluid from the spine. Know that it is very important to be careful when drawing the liquid. There is a process that needs to be followed. For instance, the needle has to be inserted between 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebrae of the spine. Also, the needle does not touch the nerves of the spine.
Once the needle was in its designated area, liquid was drawn. The liquid was analyzed for any bacterium. Once the bacterium causing the issue was found, they administered the necessary antibiotics to cure the sickness.
One Dr had tried once, but it was not successful. I moved a lot because it hurt tremendously.
Another day went by, hospitalized, with intravenous serum. However, I was happy because my mother was there and other nurses I knew who lived in the same neighborhood 🙂
There was another attempt to try to remove this bacterium from my spine, so they took me to the same room they had taken me before.
I remember seeing a huge doctor walking in the room. I was lying, so he held me from my neck and the back of my knees and bent me. That was how they got that bacterium out of my spine: by bending me enough helped opened the lumbar vertebras. This allowed the needle to go right between them and take out the liquid.
I think if it were not successful, I wouldn’t be here to tell you this story.
Finally, I was feeling much better. I remember playing with a ball in the hospital, when the preacher of the church I used to attend occasionally came to visit me. After spending those 10 days in the hospital, I was released and I went home.
What are the causes of Meningitis?
- Viral infection
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal infection
In most cases, meningitis is cause by a viral infection, followed by bacteria and fungal infections. However, the fungal infection is very rare.
What are the risks factors?
Some risk factors for meningitis are:
- Age is a risk factor. Most bacterial meningitis is common in people under 20.
- Skipping vaccinations. There is high risk for those who did not complete their recommended childhood or adult vaccination schedule.
What are the complications?
Some complications of Meningitis are
How to prevent?
- Practice a good hygiene (don’t share drinks, straws, lip silks etc)
- Wash your hands (can prevent germs so keep your hands clean at all time)
- Stay healthy (keep your immune system healthy by getting enough rest, exercising on a regular basis, and following a healthy diet)
- Cover your mouth (when you sneeze or cough)
Now, technology and medical research has come a long way. So in case you know someone with this illness, there are chances for recovery.
Stay healthy! 🙂